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Social Media WhatsApp 'Bigger Than Twitter'

April 16, 2013

The independent messaging app WhatsApp is now bigger than Twitter with more than 200 million users, CEO Jan Koum said Tuesday at a tech conference where he also vowed to keep advertising off the site.

Koum refused to say exactly how many users the app has, but revealed that it now sees an average of 8 billion inbound, and 12 million outbound messages per day.

The app, which allows users to make free phone calls, text, video and photo messages to anyone else on the system, charges 0.99 cents per year per user.

Speaking at the D: Dive into Digital conference in New York, Koum dismissed recent speculation that the company is entertaining buyout offers, saying that it was just getting started on its mission.

"We're looking forward to a world with billions of phones," Koum said. "And once that happens it's going to be extremely easy to monetize. But a lot more people need to join the smartphone revolution and a lot more people need to buy more goods on their phones."

Koum also vowed to keep advertising off the app.

"We do have a manifesto opposing advertising," Koum said. "We're proud of that. Who likes advertising? We're so bombarded with ads so much in our daily lives and we felt that smartphones aren't the place for that.

"Our phones are so intimately connected to us, to our lives. Putting advertising on a device like that is a bad idea. You don't want to be interrupted by ads when you're chatting with your loved ones."

Koum said he wanted to be like a utility such as gas and water that make money without advertising. "We want to be one of them," he said. "Our monetization strategy is simple. One dollar a year. If we did something besides that, it would just get in the way."

Source: Copyright 2013 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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